Today, dental implants are regarded as the standard of care for replacing missing teeth. These are dental fixtures placed into the jawbone to fuse with the bone for several months. They replace the root of missing teeth, serving to hold the bridge or replacement tooth.
Getting dental implants in Fort Lauderdale is perhaps the best option for imitating natural teeth since these can stand on their own without affecting the adjacent teeth.
Dental implants are mostly made of titanium, allowing them to fuse with the bone without being recognized by your body as a foreign object. And with the advancements in dental technology, the success rate for dental implant placement is close to 98 percent.
Still, knowing why you may need this dental fixture, how it is installed, and what to expect after its placement will help make you feel more at ease if you’re still hesitating to get one.
Here’s everything you should know before getting dental implants.
Reasons for Getting Dental Implants
Dental implants are intended for those with one or more missing teeth for whatever reason, including gum disease, injury, infection, and tooth decay. However, not everyone is a good candidate. Generally, this dental procedure is the best option if you:
- Have enough bone to hold the implant or can have a bone graft
- Have a fully grown jawbone
- Have healthy oral tissues
- Want to enhance your speech
- Have the willingness to commit a few months to the process
- Can’t or don’t want to wear dentures
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t have any health problem that will affect healthy bone healing
The placement of dental implants, like any type of surgery, will involve some risks. But most problems that may occur are minor and treatable. Some risks include:
- Damage or injury to surrounding structures like blood vessels and neighboring teeth
- Infection at the site
- Sinus problems if the dental implant is installed in the upper jaw
- Nerve damage that can cause tingling, numbness, or pain in your natural teeth, lips, gums, or chin
The planning process for installing dental implants will involve different specialists.
These include an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (dentist specializing in the jaw, mouth, and face) and a prosthodontist (a dentist who designs and fits artificial teeth). In some cases, an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist may also be consulted.
Since the procedure involves several steps, you need to undergo an in-depth evaluation. These include the following processes:
- Review of medical history: Inform your dentist of any medications and supplements you are taking or medical conditions you have. If you have orthopedic implants or heart illnesses, you may need to take antibiotics prior to undergoing surgery to avert possible infection.
- Comprehensive dental examination: Your dentist will examine your oral cavity and check dental imaging studies, such as panoramic films, dental X-rays, and/or CT scans, to determine your jawbone’s condition. This exam also includes taking impressions and matching your teeth color to ensure that your implant looks like your natural teeth.
- Treatment plan: Your treatment plan will be tailored to your needs. Factors like the condition of your remaining teeth and jawbone, as well as the number of teeth to be replaced are taken into consideration. You will also be instructed about important preparations before the surgery.
The Process of Installing Dental Implants
The installation of dental implants is generally an outpatient surgical procedure done in stages, with a healing period between each step.
The process involves the following steps:
Step 1: Tooth extraction
Your dentist will remove any remaining tooth that requires replacing before the procedure is performed. This can be done on the same day as the implant installation.
Step 2: Jawbone preparation (bone grafting)
If your jawbone is thick and strong enough, bone grafting won’t be necessary.
But if your jawbone is too soft or not thick enough, bone grafting must be done before you undergo dental implant surgery. This is because chewing will exert considerable pressure on your bone, and if it cannot support the implant, the surgery would be unsuccessful. Bone grafting will create a stronger base for the implant.
When it comes to bone graft materials, there are several options to rebuild your jawbone. One option is a natural bone graft or those from another part of your body. Another option is a synthetic one or a bone-substitute material capable of providing support structures for bone growth.
The need for a bone graft will lengthen the procedure because the bone must fully heal first before the implant can be added. Once healed, your dentist will now install the implant.
Step 3: Dental implant insertion
Your dentist will make a cut to insert the dental implant, opening your gums and exposing the bone. After that, holes are drilled into the bone where the implant will be inserted.
At this time, there will still be a gap over your missing tooth. When necessary, your dentist may place a temporary denture that you can remove for cleaning or before sleeping.
Step 4: Osseointegration
After the implant post-placement, osseointegration starts, wherein the jawbone will grow into and unite with the implant surface. Waiting for bone growth may take several months, but this process is highly essential since it helps provide a strong base for your artificial tooth.
Step 5: Abutment placement
Once osseointegration is complete, you will undergo a minor surgery that involves the placement of the abutment.
To place the abutment, your dentist will expose the dental implant by reopening your gum. The abutment will then be mounted onto the implant. After that, the gum tissue will be closed, but not above the abutment.
Once the abutment is successfully placed, you will have to wait for another two weeks for your gum to heal before your dentist attaches the artificial tooth.
Step 6: Artificial tooth placement
Once your gums heal, your dentist will take impressions to make your crown or artificial tooth. You can opt for a permanent or removable implant. The permanent option involves cementing or screwing the artificial tooth onto the abutment.
The removable option is like the conventional removable denture that can easily be detached for cleaning or repair. It is attached to a metal frame that is attached to the abutment.
The entire process of getting dental implants will take months from start to finish. Plenty of time is devoted to waiting for new bone growth and healing, which are crucial to ensure the procedure’s success.
Once the dental implants are installed, you may experience some discomfort. These include:
- Pain at the implant site
- Swelling of your face and gums
- Bruising of your gums and skin
- Minor bleeding
To relieve these feelings of discomfort, you may be advised to take antibiotics or pain medications. You will also have to eat soft foods after every stage of the surgery. But if any of these problems get worse, contact your dentist immediately.
Other Important Considerations
To ensure that your dental work will last long, you must:
- Practice proper oral hygiene.
- See your dentist regularly.
- Avoid destructive habits, such as chewing on hard items.
The success rate of getting implants or even Invisalign in Fort Lauderdale varies. But with the right dentist and proper care, any dental fixture can work and last a lifetime.
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